The department is devoted to the research and teaching of all fields of Jewish thought from the classical period until the writing of Jewish philosophy in our days, including the study of Kabbalah and Chassidism. Special emphasis is put on the study and research of philosophical thinking, mystical contemplation and interreligious relations.
The Department for Jewish Thought - Specialization
Among other fields the department is specialized on medieval Jewish philosophy – the writings of Saadia Gaon, Yehuda Halevi, the philosophy of Maimonides, and the thought of Hasdai Crescas – on the world of Kabbalah and Chassidism – from the study of the Zohar and Lurianic Kabbalah until the Chassidic thought of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman from Bratslav and Menachem Mendel Shneerson – and also on modern Jewish philosophy – from the pantheistic thought of Spinoza, the approach to Judaism of Moses Mendelssohn, the Torah U-Maddah position of Samson Raphael Hirsch until the ethical monotheism of Hermann Cohen. In addition the department concentrates on the philosophy of the halakha and the research of rabbinical literature of all periods. Scholarly emphasis is also put on more recent developments of Jewish thought: the ideas of Rabbi Isaac HaCohen Kook and his school, the dialogical philosophy of Martin Buber, the Jewish existentialism of Josef Soloveitchik until the ethical aspects in the thought of Franz Rosenzweig, Emanuel Levinas or Jacques Derrida. Special attention is given to the contextualization of Jewish philosophy within the research of religious thought in general, the research of Christian scholasticism and of Muslim philosophy. Importance is further attached in the department to the comparative research of Jewish, Christian and Muslim mysticism, as well as to the exposure of the exciting dialog between Jewish thought and Western and Eastern general philosophy.